Friday 22 January 2016

Giving Back

Most of us 'over-enthusiastic drinkers' find that, once we're out the other side, we have a real need to help people still struggling.

It's one of the fabulous things about the sober blogosphere: you start blogging, and reading other people's blogs, to help yourself. Then you find that, over time, your blog starts to help other people following in your footsteps.

Giving back is also fundamental to AA. It's the twelfth of the twelve steps.

Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, believed that an alcoholic who no longer drinks has an exceptional faculty for 'reaching' and helping an uncontrolled drinker. Bill writes when the twelfth step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it.

(Apologies, Bill, but I'm about to change that...)

Giving back is not entirely selfless, though, as Bill points out: practically every AA member declares that no satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a Twelfth Step job well done.

Yesterday I discovered that this need to give something back isn't just about quitting the booze. I think it's true of coming out of any major life change or trauma.

I was at The Haven, a support centre for women coping with breast cancer. They'd offered me a free acupuncture session to help with the side effects of Tamoxifen.

(I have no idea how being turned into a human pin cushion for an hour works, but it really seems to. Extraordinary).

Anyhow, on my way out, I passed a lady coming in for her first consultation with the breast nurse.

She had a gorgeous, strong face. Younger than me. But she looked drained. As if someone had taken a giant vacuum cleaner and sucked all the joy and hope out of her life. Which I suspect they just had.

It reminded me vividly of how I'd felt turning up for my first consultation three months ago, and I desperately wanted to give her a hug and to say it's going to be okay.

I didn't. The poor woman was coping with enough, and didn't need to be suffocated by a mad stranger.

Anyhow, I know The Haven will look after her. They'll talk her through her diagnosis and treatment plan. They'll offer her counselling, nutritional advice, and complimentary complementary (see what I did there?) therapies like reiki, acupuncture, reflexology and massage.

They'll invite her to join their self help groups and yoga sessions, and they'll advise her on what government benefits she may be eligible for.

But, most importantly, they'll listen. They'll understand. And they'll make her feel less alone.

That's what they did for me.

And I really, really want to give back...

Which is where I need the help of you wonderful people.

I don't make a penny from this blog. And reading this blog costs you nothing.

If it has helped you, then please, please will you do something extraordinary for those people who are doing something extraordinary for women who are having an extraordinarily awful time?

It will be like a sort of global, interwebby, karmic circle, passing on the love.

I've set up a Just Giving page. It's on  If you could donate just a small fraction of what you would have spent on booze, then together we can make a huge difference.

(You can donate anonymously, or using whatever pseudonym you like).

Here's a link to the Haven website so you can read more about the amazing work they do.

Let's harness the power of the sobersphere and change some lives.....

Thank you. Thank you.

Love SM x


  1. Great post SM! I'm a big believer in trying to support others through tough times, especially when we have direct experience. I also firmly believe in cosmic Karma. I constantly let streams of cars out in front of me on the morning school run expecting good things to happen to me for the rest of the day. Does that work??? Anyway, great cause, just donated. Have a fab weekend. Love SPB. xxx

    1. SPB, I just got a notification of your awesomely generous donation! Thank you so much! Am actually feeling all weepy. Hugs x

    2. There's nothing like a good cry to release the emotions! I always feel lighter afterwards. Be proud of all you've achieved and how you've inspired others. Hugs to you too. SPB xxx

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your donation Kats! You rock!

  3. You (and your readers) have changed my life tremendously, so may I help in a small way to change others lives too (for the positive)!

  4. A pleasure to donate to such a good cause - mines anonymous I think

  5. Done and shared SM. Awesome xxx

  6. Am overwhelmed. Nearly £600 already. And Mr SM just posted a message on the JustGiving site that made me go all wobbly. The Haven are going to be so happy. Me too! Thanks a million to you all. xxx

  7. Happy to donate, as per Just Giving Message, you and your blog has changed my life!
    My mum passed away 2 years ago after a second battle with Breast Cancer so know what a great support places like The Haven can be.
    Continue kicking arse SM, in every way and thank you. xx

    1. So sorry to hear about your Mum, ttm. It's a cruel and unfair disease (make sure you check your boobs regularly!) Thank you SO much for your donation! Hugest hugs xxx

  8. SM, what a wonderful idea, and I am happy to make a donation for such a worthy cause and in your honor. I work in a family owned business, a woman's boutique. There isn't a week that doesn't go by that I am not either helping someone find a hat, scarf etc...who is going through cancer treatment or wrapping an inspirational gift for a customer to give a friend who is in the throes of it. You are a blessing to many...thank you for helping us pay it forward.

    1. Thank you so much Tammy! And for looking after all those ladies looking for hats :-)
      Nearly reached £1000!!!!

  9. Hey SM - fabulous idea. Delighted to be able to help. You totally rock. Love SFM x

  10. You are an inspiration! What a beautiful way to give back!

    1. Welcome Ripleybelle of the gorgeous flowers, and thank you!